READ ME: How to eat out
How to eat out.... sounds so simple yet why does it get so complicated?
This is something I often talk about with clients and something, which brings up a number of different feelings and emotions. People can often feel (especially if they are new to a healthy eating regime) that it is something to be avoided. Truth is (especially if it is a regular part of your current lifestyle) we should try and incorporate it as soon as possible in order to implement it as part of your new lifestyle.
Often when I start to work with a client they will feel that they have to give up eating out for long periods of time in order to be "healthy". One of the biggest things I preach is that your food and the way you eat should fit into your current lifestyle and not the other way around. Sustainable change is all about finding a way to eat that suits you.
As a first port of call it is good to address how often you eat out? If you follow me on social media you will see I eat out a lot...usually once a day in fact.... which to some people may seem like a recipe for disaster when it comes to being "healthy".
As I work for myself though I often like to get out of the house and eating out for me is the perfect opportunity to do that. If you eat out on a regular basis it is important to think of meals as a source of nourishment for the most part.
If you on the other hand eat out once a week or every two weeks it is probably more of a social occasion. In that case I would say see it as that and enjoy the food. Nourishment isn't just about food...its also about spending time with loved ones, relaxing and destressing and your body and mind will thank you for just enjoying the food for what it is.
Examine your emotions. Often we can see eating out as an opportunity to let loose and a way of de stressing. As I mentioned above this is fine if we do it every so often and we have made a conscious decision to do so.
But so often we can end up making unconscious decisions when it comes to eating out and end up feeling regretful about our decisions afterwards. That’s why it’s always good to be aware of your emotions/mood when you are going into making a food decision.
Just take a couple of moments to recognise what kind of mood you are in while scanning a menu. Are you perhaps going to order something to make you feel better because your week didn't go so well? Are you perhaps going to feel "bad" about your decision afterwards? Is the decision you are about to make in line with your current goals and values? It’s important to examine these feelings and really try and figure out if there is an underlying emotion that perhaps is driving you towards a certain decision. Journaling about this can really help too. It can help you identify patterns of behaviour that may be driving you to make certain decisions.
Eat for nourishment first. If you do eat out regularly one thing that can be useful to remember is to eat for nourishment first. This will help you when it comes to making decisions.
If it helps you can also look at a menu before hand and try and pick out some more of the nourishing options first. This may help you in the short term as it will allow you to make a decision before being put on the spot and perhaps not picking the option which best aligns with your current goals and values. Main courses with single elements are usually better (so for example a protein (chicken, fish), a starch (potatoes) and some veggies. Don't be afraid to ask the restaurant to switch up elements. Most will be only to happy to oblige.
Don't be afraid to speak up. Did you ever notice that sometimes you eat better or worse in front of certain people? Do you ever notice that you may eat in a certain way if you go to a certain place (for example the cinema.....HELLO pick n mix?)?
We often associate certain people or places with a certain way of eating. It can be good to question this and see if we are using it as an outlet for emotions we perhaps aren't tackling in a more effective way.
If you are meeting a certain group of people don't be afraid to speak up. Tell them you are embarking on a new healthier way of eating...I guarantee you people will be really supportive and also probably very interested! You may even start a trend within your group.
If you find it difficult to go to certain places for example the cinema without reaching for the snacks, bring snacks with you so you aren't tempted and buy your tickets online so you don't have to go to the till where the temptation will be that much harder. Set yourself up for success and build new healthy habits.
What do you find the most difficult about eating out? I'd love to know?
Thanks for reading